|Juvenile fish amongst the mangrove roots at Frazers Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas|
Mangroves are cool trees. Found from the subtropics and tropics, there are three species—red, black, and white—that grow at different distances from the water. Reds are right in the water and have roots that branch above ground, so they look kind of like spiders with long, gangly legs. Blacks have roots that tunnel underground, then emerge in the water like little snorkels. Whites are a bit farther up the beach. The seeds—long, thin, and cylindrical—hang from the tree branches, then fall into the water and float away upright. Sometimes you’ll see whole flotillas of them, their little heads bobbing in the waves. When they reach land, they set their little roots in the sand and start growing. They’re important as nurseries for numerous fish species, which find protection among the roots. In Florida, so many sites are being infiltrated and overrun by Brazilian pepper trees, it’s nice to see the extensive mangrove swamps in the Bahamas.
|Mangrove seed with budding leaf at left, roots at right, trying to grab hold of the sand at Grand Harbour Cay, Bahamas|
|Keep growing, little guy!|
|Small individual mangroves at Conception Island, Bahamas|
|.Beautiful grove of mangroves at Conception Island|